Flash Fiction Challenge: Horror In Three Sentences

Last week’s challenge: Roll For Your Title

This week’s challenge is easy to describe, but hard to execute:

Write a scary story in three sentences.

That’s it.

Remember: a proper story has a beginning, middle and an end.

It is not merely a vignette.

And, no, really — make it scary.

You will write these stories in the comments below, not at your websites or blog spaces.

I’ll pick my top three favorites to get the whole suite of my writing-related e-books (not including the newest, The Kick-Ass Writer, which will soon be published by Writer’s Digest, nudge nudge).

You’ve got one week.

Due by Friday the 18th, noon EST. One entry only.


  • I knew from the moment I saw her that she would be the source of excruciating pain and love. She had to know how I felt. It took some doing, but I can pass from this world knowing that in her last minutes, I showed her.

  • Grim shivered, as the darkening memory inched towards his consciousness. The little girl in the white dress who knew him so well. She would be his demise.

  • As my sword pierced his heart, I knew my end was near. I had been told separating the head from the body was the only way. As he shuffled, deeper on my sword, I felt his teeth tear the flesh from my neck.

  • I told him not to eat it, with a wink and a knowing nudge. Within forty-eight seconds that poacher Gunther blew up like a blowfish..

    The tainted blowfish served forty-eight seconds and the rest of my lifetime as delightful.

  • I’ve known blog commenters to write a whole essay in just one sentence (although, to be fair, they did include a capital letter on every word) – so how hard can it be? One question though – can we enter more than once?

  • This wasn’t the first time I felt like I was being watched when I was alone but it was the first time I caught the culprit. My reflection was wearing a smile that I was not and I felt drawn to put my hand on the glass. The world spun for a moment, my reflection’s now wicked grin was forced onto my own face and chilled me to my core as she coolly spoke, “Finally, it’s my turn.”

  • The Mausoleum

    The macabre gallery of heads, each on its plinth, disarmed my politess, and I was rude enough to ask him, “How do you keep them fresh?”

    “I don’t think you understand”, he said, caressing the shaved scalp of one of his charges as we passed; in horror, I watched the movement of eyes, reaction to the sensory input.

    Too late I remembered the Director’s assistant, and the cold sting of the needle entering my arm was a bitter counterpoint to his final words to me: “They’re not dead at all.”

  • ******************

    I told him not to eat it, with a wink and a knowing nudge. He used ketchup and a sharp paring knife and within forty-eight seconds that poacher Gunther blew up like a blowfish.

    The tainted blowfish served forty-eight seconds and the rest of my lifetime as delightful.

  • Three men in dark suits and sunglasses converged on the long, low-slung black car as it rolled to a stop. The rear passenger-side door eased open and a woman’s leg swung out and down, her black high-heel shoe matched by the taut, slate-gray knee-length skirt as she stood and strode crisply toward the white colonnades and multi-paned doors of the residence. From the inside, an athletic man with close-trimmed hair opened the residence door and met her with the words she’d waited so long to hear, “Welcome home, President Bachmann.”

  • Jim had thought that the ice-cream truck’s tune was ‘Greensleeves’, but it had always been hard to tell what with that one broken note. He found himself humming along absentmindedly as it trundled past the house, gleaming like a newly minted nickel under the dim light of the streetlamps. Jim’s coffee froze an inch from his lips as he suddenly remembered the incident a while back when the truck had been set on fire by a bunch of kids, burning it and the driver down to its pink wheels.

  • She was the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. He woke her up with a kiss.

    They were the most beautiful couple anyone has ever seen, and the hungriest, too.

  • John stared at the blank, dark screens of his phone and laptop, now just hunks of worthless plastic, with growing dread and wondered what was the point of it all. Outside another gunshot rang out, the finality of the noise twisting his gut. The internet had ceased to exist.

  • Harold, the limping butler, led me through a maze of damp corridors deeper into the castle interior and into a candle-lit room full of dinner guests.

    I heard the heavy door slide shut behind me, followed by an unmistakable, bone-chilling sound of a key turning inside a lock.

    Harold inched closer, his left foot scraping the floor, and, after giving me a measured, appraising look, whispered: “Oh yes, tonight’s feast will be most exquisite!”

  • I fought back the nausea when I saw fat little bodies wriggling in the fireplace.

    ‘Bound to be a pigeon or summat,’ the sweep told me, thrusting the brush up the chimney.

    The decomposing, maggot-ridden limb which dropped into the grate suggested something a little bigger might be causing the blockage…

  • He lunged at the intruder with knife in hand, sinking it into his flesh, over and over again until he was sure the man was dead.

    Police sirens blared, and when he turned back, he saw his wife and three children lying dead in a pool of blood on the floor.

    “Sir,” the police officer said, “There’s no sign that anyone broke into your home tonight.”

  • The stench of aged piss and fresh shit horse-kicked Darren awake and through squinted eyes, he peered up at the ceiling where legions of green and black mold peered back. From a rotted hole, emerged a fat rusty-brown cockroach that scrambled down the tile wall and across the ledge of the tub, stopping just a hands-length from Darren’s face where it flicked its antennae and then disappeared over the ledge. He realized then, that he was shaking uncontrollably and through chattering teeth he glanced down at his naked body where he found himself half-submerged in ice, an inky crimson stain leaking from a twelve-inch incision at his left side.

  • I look at the sky, hoping for snow-bringing clouds, while I try hard to ignore all the movement underneath the layers of brown and yellow that cover the ground. The piles of dead leaves are closer again, it seems. With a tremble, I’m beginning to realize that this autumn may never end.

  • Jim stood in his pitch black hallway, his Smith and Wesson cocked and ready to teach the intruder creeping up the stairs a lesson he’d never forget. The footsteps reached the top of the stairs and he fired, hearing the criminal let out a pained cry that would haunt him the rest of his life. “Dad?”

  • There was a light ahead, brilliant and comforting. As it spread its arms around me, the void below took shape and dozens of hands clawed at my legs, snatching me away. Into the abyss I sank, absolute darkness pressing in, and all around me a cacophony of voices whispered into infinity, “Welcome home, Wendig.”

  • In the semi-darkness of the moonlit room, the blood dripped from the blade of the hunting knife. She had reacted in the only way she knew how when she heard a noise in the middle of the night – as she lived alone and had always said she would do this. And so she stood there staring at the dead body in the middle of her bedroom as she called the police.

  • He woke to find the fingers of the redhead from the club firmly knitted in his chest, her breath trickling along his ear canal. When he tried to roll over, she came with him, her pulse quickening in his aorta, her whisper shifting the pattern of his synapses. “You won’t forget me,” she murmured, half asleep, “flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood.”

  • The man teetered on the ladder, arm stretched as far as he could without falling, and slipped the corner of the paper scraper under the last strip of paper on the ceiling. He gasped in horror as not only the paper but a huge chunk of plaster came loose and fell towards his daughter. The plaster dropped with a sickening thud narrowly missing the girl but destroying utterly his beloved games console.

  • It was only in the bright light of day she could read her name upon the tombstone. Odd not to remember the end of her own life. Stranger still to see that it was not his name beside hers; she had kept to the pact and he had let her down again.

  • He watched from the closet as she undressed and climbed into bed, his spine tingling with anticipation of his fantasy finally being fulfilled. He waited until she had drifted into her dreams and emerged from the shadows. As he drew his knife across her throat, he bathed in her blood and shared a grim smile with the night.

  • When I woke, it was dark as pitch and the sound of giggling children surrounded me.

    The begging of my wife and the sobbing of my five-year-old daughter entered my ears, the smell of gasoline entered my nose. A spark entered my vision, then a dark adolescent smile behind the flame.

  • Never Again

    “I can’t do this anymore, James,” Martha said, wiping the salt from her cheeks. She kicked his dead body, weighted with more than enough cinder blocks, into the river.
    She didn’t even have time to scream when he grabbed her ankle, dragging her down with him.

  • I wait, hidden behind my blinds, for him to come to my door today, the slapping of his shoes against the cement my only warning before he makes it past my hedges and into the yard. As i peer out through the slats, I think back to his easy smile and friendly conversation, the way he always pulled candies out of his pockets for the kids on the block, and then something changed.

    The postman is coming.

  • The House

    The man on the phone says, “Any moron can get into the house, but I’m the only one who can get you out, as long as you haven’t eaten or drunk anything inside.”

    “Why, what happens then?” I ask, glancing from the phone to the half-empty glass in my hand.

    He pauses a minute, then says, “Well, then you belong to the house.”

    • Reminds me of a weird dream I had of a house that trapped me inside it. But I had a chance to get out once the house was ‘sleeping’. I had to wait until it locked itself down for the night… I had just under a minute to get out from the top storey and then, I could escape… I made it out thankfully! but then, I had nowhere to go and an old car in the driveway but no keys in my pockets to start it…

      Weird dream indeed.

  • He always said he’d come back for me; I had gone to great lengths to come to terms with the fact i was never going to see him again after the war; I had therapy, was prescribed copious amounts of medication, I remarried! And yet there he was, in front of me. But there was something about his half missing head, deviant yellow eyes and black broken teeth that told me this wasn’t the man I married and he wasn’t best pleased to see me.

  • He stared silently at the stain in his carpet. He listened to the whir of the steam cleaner as it chugged along. He watched as the last remnant was erased, of what had been his son.

  • Alice drank the Kool-Aid, swallowed the salvation he offered. By the time she saw his claws, they had her clenched, body and spirit. She cut her tethers and her essence, her unhinged soul, detached.

  • On the night of her sixth birthday, Mandy woke, freezing, from a dream in which her parents tried to kill her. Blinking away memories of thick straps and flashing knives, she hesitated just outside the kitchen, where Daddy sat sewing up a cut in Mommy’s neck.
    Mommy stared at the strange design burned into her nice tabletop and whispered, “What will we do when the demon surfaces next year?”

    Wow, that was fun! Enjoying reading the other stories here.

  • Now in her frail nineties, she remembered sitting in disbelief when her mother pierced the dark night air with shrill cries, howling in the old tongue, “Mamuna! Mamuna! Ona zdes, MAMUNA!” (tr. The demoness, the demoness, she is here, the demoness)

    Of course it was dementia; the ravings of a woman whose mind had given to periodical blue skies of clarity peeking through the overcast sea of frowns, tears, night-terrors, and horrible wide-eyed hallucinations.

    Now, with no daughter of her own to sit in the same dim bedroom and comfort her with a familiar hand, a tear slid down her cheek as she watched the shadow in the corner creep along the floorboard to her bare feet.

  • These are kinda fun. I went with a Lovecraftian feel, but I’m diggin’ doing them so much, I may post more on my blog.

    Here’s mine:

    I found the book embossed with a million silently wailing faces in an old trunk from an estate sale. I thought no harm in reading its dark passages, curiosity getting the better of me in my hubris. And now one million and one silently scream an eternal warning as new hands caress the cover and curious eyes gleam at my estate sale.

  • Diana was working late, long after her coworkers had gone home and the sun had gone down, the rattle of the vents and the buzz of nearly complete silence alternately accompanying the clack of her keyboard.

    She turned her office chair slowly at the sudden tap-scrape, tap-scrape, tap-scrape on the window behind her, only to see the silhouette of a man outlined through the gauze-thin drapes, filling the entirety of the window.

    Two facts crept into Diana’s thoughts as she sat petrified in her chair, under the spotlight glower of a solitary overhead light: the windows were at least nine feet tall and four feet wide, and her office was on the 12th floor.

  • They said she had gotten better. She’d moved into a new town in another country where flowers grew in the sidewalk cracks, had gotten a cat, a new hairstyle, a new life, a boyfriend who didn’t leave burning touches on her skin-they all sang the same song of rehabilitation and hope. When they found her brains blown out on the kitchen floor they’d shrugged and said they had forgotten to check the gun laws in the area she’d moved to.

  • The woman bit her lip so hard that blood dripped down her chin, she felt no pain however. The man, totally unaware, went about his business, full and ripe with life, tantalizing the woman. Her hands quivered in anticipation of the act that they would soon be doing, this was going to be so much fun.

  • It had to be done; I had to end the reign of this ruthless, half-crazed creature who was terrorising grown adults and destroying the innocence of children everywhere.

    I burst into the room with my Bible and my crucifix, ready to do battle – but, too late, realised I had underestimated the awesome power of her deadliest weapon….

    As the grotesque tongue writhed like a serpent in front of my face, I collapsed to my knees and succumbed to my fate, knowing at last that there truly was nothing – and no-one – who could defeat Miley Cyrus’ unholy appendage.

  • Alex awoke, slowly, the walls spinning around her, until her vision cleared and she could she was in a damp, darkened room with concrete walls. She realized that she was strapped down to a hospital gurney and with horror she realized that there was an empty space where her legs should be. With trembling fingers she pulled up the white sheets to reveal two bloody, hastily sewn up stumps while behind her a white-coated madman with a gleam in his eye walked toward her with a rusty scalpel.

  • The stench of aged piss and fresh shit horse-kicked Darren awake and through squinted eyes, he peered up at the ceiling where legions of green and black mold peered back. From a gash in the corner, emerged a fat rusty-brown cockroach that scrambled down the tile wall and across the ledge of the tub, stopping just a hands-length from Darren’s face where it flicked its antennae and then disappeared over the ledge. He realized then, that he was shaking uncontrollably and through chattering teeth he glanced down at his naked body where he found himself half-submerged in ice, an inky crimson stain leaking from a twelve-inch incision at his left side.

  • Bad things happen to girls who walk alone in the woods, and Terrance was one of them. He’d been stalking this one – a pretty redhead in jeans and a tshirt – for hours now. It was only when he got close enough to put his hand round her skinny neck that he saw her teeth.

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